Biophilia is the innate human instinct to connect with nature (yes, I Googled the exact definition). This passion for all things flowery, leafy, and rocky has become a big trend in the world of architecture and design — especially when it comes to hotels. The most impressive biophilic hotel properties around the globe usher the outdoors in and give travelers the chance to commune with nature without ever needing to step foot outside. Sustainability also often comes into play here. Think: reclaimed materials and plants indigenous to the region.
Thankfully, it’s not all sprawling resorts with manicured gardens or luxury ryokans tucked away in some remote forest (though, those types of immersive nature experiences make for a wonderful getaway), but more accessible city breaks that wow green-starved travelers with unique nature-influenced structures, accommodations, and common areas that bring the beauty of Mother Nature inside in creative, clever, and jaw-dropping ways.
Ahead, see our top picks for the top biophilic city hotels that allow you to get a dose of the great outdoors ... indoors.
1 Hotel Toronto: Toronto, Canada
A biophilic dream that’s accurately advertised as an urban oasis, 1 Hotel Toronto shows off a refined yet relaxed design that draws inspiration from what’s happening outside its doors (and across the province). The palette of soft earth tones nods to the color of the lake and the seasonal shifts. The use of reclaimed and thoughtfully sourced materials from around Ontario — including upcycled timber, board-formed concrete, marble, limestone, and granite from local quarries —reflects the deeply rooted eco-conscious ethos. Native plants are everywhere. And floor-to-ceiling windows stream in sunlight.
Shangri-La Singapore: Singapore
Just a short walk from shopping and entertainment sits a true earthly Eden that very much lives up to its name. Shangri-La Singapore is the only hotel in the city with lush, open gardens teeming with over 110 different varieties of plants — including orchids, fruit trees, palms, and ferns. The show-stopping leafy feature wall growing into the basalt rock in the main lobby makes biophilia-loving hearts soar. Other superabundant standouts? The atrium and nature-inspired rooms in the urban sanctuary-like Garden Wing.
Rosewood São Paulo: São Paulo, Brazil
Set within Cidade Matarazzo, the largest upcycling project in all of Brazil, Rosewood São Paulo is entirely constructed from locally sourced, reclaimed, and recycled materials. The new vertical garden tower looks like a brilliant marriage between a botanist and an architect. Rising 328 feet into the sky, it’s covered in Brazilian wood and 10,000 trees for giant garden wall vibes. Credit for this genius project goes to Pritzker Prize-winner Jean Nouvel. The Philippe Starck-designed rooms and ongoing sustainability efforts are extremely applause-worthy, too.
Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp: Antwerp, Belgium
With a name like Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp, it’s not a huge leap to assume you’re in for some serious greenery. Guests get their leafy fix at the Michelin-rated 1238 Restaurant, a garden-fronting conservatory that’s flooded with natural light and filled with verdure. The other thing this 13th-century monastery turned high-end retreat does so well is to employ sustainable materials like wood, stone, and glass. Not to mention many of the treatments at the modern health spa tap into the healing power of herbs and other natural ingredients.
Hotel Indigo Vienna - Naschmarkt: Vienna, Austria
Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt is a contemporary garden-themed respite just outside the city center in the Margareten district. Virtually every corner of the property has some kind of vegetation. There’s also a lush terrace, courtyard, and rooftop. The restaurant implements hanging greenery, potted plants, and forest-hued tile that almost looks like grass from far away to create a calm ambiance that’s punched up with viridescent charm. Rooms follow suit with soothing pops of sage and botanical-emblazoned tile accent walls.
The Plaza Hotel: New York City, New York
Guests staying at The Plaza Hotel don’t need to walk over to nearby Central Park for a dose of green. The Palm Court, the most iconic spot to sip afternoon tea on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, channels the natural beauty of New York City’s famous 843-acre park (and injects some tropical flair, too) through the utilization of huge potted plants, towering palm trees, sage trellis detailing, marble columns, and custom cane furnishings. The stained-glass dome acts like a beautifully adorned skylight.
Fairmont Century Plaza: Los Angeles, California
The Fairmont Century Plaza brings fresh, modern, biophilic energy to Los Angeles’ Century City. Design anchored by natural materials, clean lines, and green accents aim to provide a harmonious passage between the outdoor and indoor spaces. It all starts with the lobby, where soaring ceilings, an expansive living wall made of lush greenery, and a water feature steal the show. The sleek spa is swathed in wood and marble. Lumière boasts a solarium dining room that feels like a greenhouse as well as a garden patio.
Saint James Paris: Paris, France
In a place as exciting as France’s capital, it’s nice to have a halcyon home base. The relaxed nature of Saint James Paris, a member of Relais & Châteaux, stems from its landscaped grounds and brilliant use of biophilic elements inside (being the only chateau-hotel in the city certainly doesn't hurt either). The courtyard is awash with shades of green, both the paint and plants. Individually decorated rooms flaunt graceful floral wall coverings. Many overlook the gorgeous gardens. The lobby displays a grand marble desk and vine-embossed backdrop.